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Meisels, Flannery and Loomba Obtain Defense Verdict in Fatal Police Shooting Case

December 5, 2016

Peter Meisels (Partner-White Plains), John Flannery (Partner-White Plains) and Lalit Loomba (Of Counsel-White Plains) obtained a defense verdict in federal court for the city of White Plains in a police excessive force case that resulted in the shooting death of a man in his home. Two police officers and a sergeant were summoned to the scene by Life Alert for an emergency response to the decedent, Kenneth Chamberlain, and advised that he was an emotionally disturbed person. The officers tried for more than an hour to persuade Mr. Chamberlain to open the door and the situation escalated dramatically when Mr. Chamberlain started slashing at officers through the partially opened door with a meat clever and a butcher knife. The officers used a Taser and a beanbag shotgun, but when Mr. Chamberlain charged the sergeant with the butcher knife, he was shot and killed by a police officer. Prior to trial and as a result of the city’s motion practice, the court dismissed all claims except the federal and state excessive force claims against the officer who shot Mr. Chamberlain and the state law respondeat superior claim against the City. The Court also ruled, and subsequently charged the jury, that the only issue for trial was whether the use of deadly physical force was objectively reasonable, and further that in evaluating that question the jury was only to consider the circumstances facing the officer immediately prior to the moment that he made the decision to shoot. After nearly eight hours of deliberations, the jury rendered a defense verdict on all claims. 

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